Word 2007 Beta — Shiny!
Ooooh, pretty. I managed to snag the Office 2007 Beta today and have been playing around with it a bit, which is to say I’ve been playing around with Word 2007 because I couldn’t really give a crap about the rest of the Office suite. So far: Very pretty. I’ll be fiddling with some of the functionality soon to see what I think of it, but as I’ve always been partial to MS Word, I don’t expect I’ll be terribly displeased. I can say at this point that a) I really like the new organizational structure of the features up at the top (the tabs mean you don’t have to drill down through several hundred menus to find functionality), and b) I sure hope MS improves its”Publish to Blog” feature, because right now it stinks; I can’t get it to play with the Whatever, which is a tragedy, or even with LiveJournal, which it’s supposed to be able to do. It has seamless integration with MSN Spaces, however. Yeah, I’m gonna get right on that.
If Word 2007 pans out, it’ll make the case for me returning to my PC for my book writing. I switched over to the Mac to write The Ghost Brigades — indeed, I rationalized my Mac purchase by saying to myself and my wife that novel writing was what the Mac was for — but I’ve been less than overwhelmed by the word processing choices on that side of the computing gulf. Pages is pretty but functionally something of a disappointment for me, and OpenOffice for the Mac is alternately distractingly ugly, clunky or buggy. I could have bought Word for the Mac, but I’d already spent money on Pages. What I ended up doing was writing TGB in TextEdit and porting it over to Word 2000 on my PC for formatting when I was done writing. The book was good, mind you, but overall it was a less than optimal writing experience. As I said, we’ll have to see what I think of this new iteration of Word. This beta will function through February 2007, which I assure will be more than enough time to complete The Last Colony (because if it’s not, Patrick Nielsen Hayden will wring my lousy neck — and he would be right to do it).
Incidentally, if you look closely at the picture here, it will appear as if you are looking at the first page of The Last Colony. However, in fact, you’re not. What you’re looking at is a previous, cast-off version of the first chapter of The Last Colony, which I abandoned because it sucked; the characters in the chapter got away from me and started babbling with stentorian gravity, and I had to knock that crap off straight away. In fact, there are five or six versions of the opening chapter, all at various levels of completion, that I have tucked away and which you will never see because they are God-awful — which is not even counting an entire earlier iteration of The Last Colony, featuring a major character you will now never know, because I threw him down a well after I wrote three chapters of the guy and realized I couldn’t stand him, and if I couldn’t stand him, what chance did the rest of you have? So now he’s dying a miserable death at the bottom of a well, and no one can hear him cry for help. Well, I can. But I assure you, he deserved it, and I’m leaving him for the rats.
The good news is that now The Last Colony has an opening chapter I like quite a bit, and with that out of the way the writing is coming along quite nicely, thank you. And I’ve learned that beginnings can be tricky for me (interestingly, I had nearly the same problem with The Ghost Brigades), but once I’ve got that sorted out, things typically run smoothly. At least this is what I’m telling myself. If you wish to contradict me on this matter, I have a well on my property I’d like you to see.
Of course, maybe the problem was the I wrote them on the Mac. Without MS Word. Hmmmmmm.